Read a Road Map Day

Today, April 5, is Read a Road Map Day. The perfect way to celebrate would have been to set off on an adventure, maps in hand, to enjoy an impromptu road trip. I couldn’t do that today. However, I did the next best thing. I recently purchased four MapEasy Guidemaps at Barnes & Noble. This evening I lounged on my bed and unfolded those colorful maps, and in my mind at least, I traveled!

Read a Road Map Day
Read a Road Map Day harkens back to the days before smartphones wirh built in GPS. As a realtor, I am grateful for the time saving convenience of GPS. It makes my life easier…and safer.

However, there is something adventurous, romantic even, about navigating by a map that lies unfolded on the front seat of a car. I love maps. Although not as necessary today, they are still symbolic of travel.

Read a Road Map Day
I am charmed by these MapEasy Guidemaps. They are tear resistant and waterproof. And the bright colors have an artistic appeal. I was delighted to discover the bookstore carried precisely the maps I needed for my upcoming trips this year.

Read a Road Map Day
Read a Road Map Day
The maps are double sided. Italy has the familiar boot shaped country on one side, with the major cities and roadways marked. And on the flip side are maps of three of Italy’s favorite destinations: Rome, Venice and Florence. Those cities are on our itinerary.

Also included are boxes with important info, such as what the currency is…the euro…and how to travel across the country. The Personal Favorites box lists not-to-miss sights.

Read a Road Map Day
Read a Road Map Day
Read a Road Map Day
Since the trip to Italy, with my daughter and grandson, is about six weeks away, I spent most of my “celebration” time studying that map. However, the other three maps are excellent as well. Ireland features Dublin on the flip side, which is going to be our home base in that country.

The Scotland map has Edinburgh on the other side, which is the main city my mom, sisters, niece and I will be launching out from during our visit to that bonnie country.

And the last map is just of London. That is the only city we will be visiting in England. These maps are perfect for my upcoming trips, providing exactly what I need to familiarize myself with the countries and/or primary cities.

I intend to take my maps along on my travels. And when I return home, the colorful maps,  marked with the places we visited, will be framed as artistic keepsakes of my journeys.

Read a Road Map Day
I enjoyed celebrating Read a Road Map Day. Studying the maps ramped up my excitement about fulfilling a growing desire of mine…traveling and exploring new places. This is only the beginning of world wide adventures, I hope.

In fact, I am so thrilled about the trips this year, that as I prepared photos for tonight’s blog, I felt compelled to play with the wording of my premise for this year. For this post I couldn’t decide between the categories, “life a little more tender” or “art a little more robust”.

This is Alan Rickman’s quote that is foundational to my year, “If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.” I’ve read that he loved the thrill of traveling. I switched the words around to create a new category, Life a Little More Robust. It seemed fitting for a post about travel. I think Alan would approve.

Read a Road Map Day
If you love maps like I do, you can get your MapEasy Guidemaps below:

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of these products, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

London’s Birthday Party 

The family gathered this afternoon, to celebrate London Kate Miller, who will be seven years old on Monday. London is my great niece, daughter of my nephew Eric, granddaughter of my sister Linda. 

I call all the younger children in my extended family the “grands”. The kids interact a lot, and consider each other cousins and friends. Linda is Gigi, my sister Debbie is Meem, and I am Yaya to this group of sweethearts, with the exception of little Kaleb, who has always called me by my name. 

London's Birthday Party
I looked up London’s name:

“London, you bring to completion anything that you start. You are generous and like to see returns from your giving. You possess leadership abilities. You are moral, balanced, honest and intellectual, and you may choose a spiritual path through life. You are wise and practical with an appreciation of beauty. You are direct in your communication style, methodical, and believe in law, system and order.

 Keeping the peace is important to you, and you want those you love to live in harmony. You desire to balance your life with those around you and you may feel incomplete without someone to share your love, ideals, wealth or work with. You can be very sensitive and appear a bit shy. You are developing your intuition. Compassion and empathy enable you to nurture others well. 

London's Birthday Party

Such powerful words, for a seven year old. And yet I see London already exhibiting many of those characteristics. She is generous, with strong leadership abilities, honest and direct, with a sense of justice, law and order. 

London is a peacemaker. The eldest of Linda’s grandchildren, she desires harmony among the cousins and helps with one while entertaining another. Watching her, I see how much London already values peace and love within her family. 

London's Birthday Party
London's Birthday Party
This loving child knows how to have fun, too, and that’s what today was about. London kicked off the party by opening presents, expressing gratitude for her gifts, allowing her younger cousins to help open a couple of them. 

London's Birthday Party
London's Birthday Party
Happy birthday was sung…with the large group present, it took a couple of attempts to get us singing in harmony…and London’s cute birthday cake served up. I passed on cake and ice cream, and enjoyed instead the closeness of family, the joy and laughter, as I chatted my way around the room. 

London's Birthday Party
London's Birthday Party
It was a fun afternoon, celebrating this precious girl. No matter what paths she chooses, as she journeys through life, I look forward to watching her continue to grow, in body, in spirit, in wisdom, grace and beauty. I choose to walk beside her, encouraging her along with her parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, sister, brother and cousins, as London offers her compassion, peace and harmony to the world. 

Happy birthday, London. I love you!

London's Birthday Party


It was a girls’ day today, an opportunity to get my granddaughter Aubrey together with my sister’s granddaughter London. These young ladies, who are technically second cousins, consider each other cousins/sisters/bffs. They love each other unconditionally, play earnestly, and entertain their Yaya and Gigi endlessly. 

For there is always singing and dancing. 

Live, Discovering a New Way to be Musical

The girls spent a fun afternoon playing together and laughing, walking the mall, and jumping at the Spider Jump. They ate at the food court, and checked out a few stores, and giggled through a photo shoot in a photo booth. 

The highlight of the afternoon was their song and dance performance at my sister’s house. My mom joined us and Aubrey and London had an appreciative audience of grandmothers. Using songs from YouTube, the girls sang and showed off their dance moves. 

Which led to today’s creative inspiration. Aubrey introduced us to, available via a downloadable app. Called the world’s largest creative platform, allows users to sing, lip sync to popular songs, and create their own short videos to share. 

Aubrey’s account is private and protected, due to her age. However, we enjoyed watching the videos that she has created. I was quite impressed, actually, with her creative expression and her moves! 

Linda and I downloaded the app, and the lessons began! I marvel at how knowledgeable kids are about technology. My grandchildren have been teaching me tips and techniques for my iPhones since they were toddlers. 

Amid much laughter, Linda and I took turns joining Aubrey in creating our first videos. You can see mine HERE. I love’s tag line: “live with passion, live”. I’m not sure yet what I will do with this new app. But I enjoyed Aubrey’s enthusiasm and her willingness to teach us a new way to be musical! 

It was a fun day. I am inspired, always, by being with Aubrey and London as they interact and create. I love that they don’t hold back as they sing and dance and play. They are talking about creating a YouTube channel together. Anything is possible, with these bright young stars. 

Journey 282: Annabelle’s Fun Farm

What a fun adventure I had this evening, shared with my mom, my sister Linda, her granddaughter London and my granddaughter Aubrey. We joined Grace Baptist Church for an outing to Annabelle’s Fun Farm, located in Welch, OK. Anytime the little girls can hang out together is a great event for them. Tonight’s journey, however, included some firsts for all of us. 

Here is our evening, captured in pics: 


The girls loved that we got to travel by bus to the farm. I have to say it was nice for the adults too. We didn’t have to drive and could sit back and enjoy the ride.

It was the perfect fall evening for being outdoors. Annabelle’s was a beautiful, colorful farm with all kinds of activities for families. 


First stop, The Barnyard. 



Cute barn-style swing and slide set. Note the giant minion in the background, made from large round bales of hay. 

The Corn Shed. This playhouse filled with dried corn kernels was a clever idea. The girls returned to play inside over and over again. 


The train ride wound through part of the property, offering views across farmland.  


Giant rocking chair!

The must-have bounce house. The girls love these air filled fun houses. 


Called The Hayride, I was grateful the bales of hay traditionally used for seating had been replaced with wooden benches and stairs led into the trailer for easy access. 

Love spending time with these girls!


Everyone on The Hayride got to select a pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch. My favorite pic of the evening!


Stunning sunset. The girls marveled at the sunflowers.  


The corn maze beckoned. I’ve always wanted to do a corn maze. I was determined to walk it with my little group. A first experience for all of us!

This was so fun! We wandered around for quite a while, trying different paths, laughing as we looped past previous spots. We got lost. We found our way out at last, by exiting through the entrance…but at least we got out! The girls began to think we’d be in the maze until next Thursday. 


We finished up our evening by roasting hotdogs and making S’mores. What a grand time we had. The bus ride home was much quieter than the trip to the farm. We had two very happy and very tired little girls and three happy and tired adults. I’m so glad my mom invited us to join her on this adventure. Annabelle’s Fun Farm is exactly that, fun. I can check “Walk through a corn maze” off my list. And I’m thankful for London and Aubrey, who are always willing to experience new things. Those young ladies are amazing! 


Journey 256: A Mouse, a Nature Walk and a Dance

Today presented an opportunity to get my granddaughter Aubrey and my sister’s granddaughter London together for an afternoon of playing. These two little girls don’t get to spend near as much time together as they would like. However, when schedules align, they enjoy every moment that they are given. 


The majority of their play date took place at one of the girls’ favorite hang outs… Chuck E Cheese Pizza. Today they were joined by cousins Weston and Lola, who entered into the spirit of fun whole-heartedly…just keep that big mouse who lurks about away! This is a noisy, kid friendly restaurant. Linda, Nicole and I didn’t mind the rowdy atmosphere though. The kids had space to run and slide, ride rides and plug tokens into whirring, clanging machines. 

Aubrey and London have been enjoying Chuck E Cheese since their toddler days, when Gigi and I had to boost them up the platforms, to the top of the playground enclosure. I watched today, with both amusement and tenderness, as the girls helped young Weston climb to the top, taking turns pulling on his arms from above and lifting from below. They made a great little team and Weston loved looking out over the restaurant from his vantage point. What better place to keep an eye out for that overgrown mouse roaming about!


Pretty little Lola, who will be a year old in late November, was bright eyed and interested in all the activity swirling about her. She and Gigi drove a car and she loved the bright green train ride that jostled her a bit too much after her bottle at lunch. She’s a good-natured, happy baby who smiles easily and already allows her curiosity to lead her. 


After Nicole headed home with her two sleepy babies, the girls finished up their afternoon together at Gigi’s house. These BFF/cousins are at an age where they need very little supervision. Linda and I sit nearby, visiting and keeping an ear turned toward the girls. It’s amusing and revealing, listening to them engage. Their life experiences pop up to color their conversations and play. And maybe that’s not a bad way, in the midst of make-believe, to sort out their little lives. 

We took time for a walk in the neighborhood. The girls carried plastic zip-lock bags for collecting treasures. I love that they fully expected to find such items. Into the baggies went interesting twigs and rocks, seeds, acorns and walnuts, and shiny bits of ribbon from some celebration. These children reminded me today that on our journeys, we find what we expect to find. I want to be a seeker of treasures as well. 

London and Aubrey ended their afternoon of fun with a little ritual that has become a tradition for them…The Dance. Sometimes they dress up in costumes. Today they donned leotards. And then they danced their little hearts out for their Yaya and Gigi. We enjoyed their performance and laughed at their antics this afternoon, as they let their little wild and creative spirits peep through. It was good fun. And more than that, it allowed them to move, their bodies and their energies. Rather than clinging sadly to each other, wondering when they will get together next, they instead parted company on a high and hilarious note. Wise beyond years, these two. Old souls who love and enjoy each other. I learn so much from them. 


Journey 174: Inside Out

My granddaughter Aubrey and I had the opportunity to spend the day with my sister, Linda, and her granddaughter London. We declared it a girls’ day and it was the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

girls day ice cream

The girls enjoyed lunch at Chick-Fil-A, with fun time in the indoor playground area, surrounded by a crowd of kids. They finished their outing there with vanilla ice cream. Later in the day, they cooled off by splashing around in a kiddie pool in Linda’s backyard and playing in the play room together.

girls day aubrey jumps

girls day london jumps

The highlight of our day was a trip to the movie theater to watch the new animated release, Inside Out. All of us were excited about this film. Aubrey has been watching previews for days, in preparation for the movie. London bought Inside Out figurines, so of course, Aubrey had to get some too. As we arrived at the theater, the girls were busily chatting about the characters, and speculating about what part the elephant, Bing Bong, played in the story.

girls day inside out

Inside Out is a Pixar Animation Studio/Walt Disney Pictures film featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan.  Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen directed and wrote the story. The comedy drama is rated PG and has a run time of 1 hour and 34 minutes.

Riley Anderson (Dias) is a happy eleven year old girl, thrown into confusion when her family leaves their home in Minnesota and moves across the country to San Francisco, California. While her mom and dad (Lane and MacLachlan) deal with a missing moving van and the stress of new jobs, Riley struggles with adjusting to a new home, new friends and a new school. She is guided by her emotions Joy (Poehler), Sadness (Smith), Fear (Hader), Anger (Black) and Disgust (Kaling) who occupy space inside Riley’s brain, a place they refer to as Headquarters. The emotions direct her through every day life and situations, while keeping tabs on the colorful spheres that accumulate, each holding a memory from the day.

girls day inside out riley

Joy is Riley’s primary emotion, present with her since birth. Using optimism and high energy, she keeps the other emotions in check and strives to keep Riley happy and smiling. With the move, however, the other emotions are in conflict with Joy, especially Sadness, who while moping around, keeps touching the memory spheres, changing them from joyful yellow to tinged with blue sadness.

When Joy and Sadness are accidently relocated deep within Riley’s long term memory, the other emotions attempt to monitor and help Riley, who becomes angry, fearful and disgusted with her situation and her parents. Joy and Sadness watch helplessly as Riley sinks into resentment as she longs to return to Minnesota. While they are making their way through the girl’s memories, imagination and dreamscape, heading back to Headquarters with Riley’s core memories, they observe her personality shifting, her core values falling away into the desolate area of forgotten memories.

With the help of Bing Bong (Kind), Riley’s imaginary friend from her early childhood, Joy and Sadness navigate through a confusing and often treacherous landscape, learning how important it is for all the emotions, especially Sadness, to be given importance, if not dominance.

girls day inside out voices

This was a delightful movie. And one that provided an interesting and often humorous look at the warring emotions inside each of us. I watched, amused, as Joy rallied the other emotions and sent a steady stream happy memories and reminders to Riley, keeping her upbeat. With her highly positive outlook, she reminded me….of me. What was portrayed very well, and impacted me the most, was the role Sadness played in creating a sense of compassion and companionship between Riley and her parents. It turned out Riley needed her lower emotion of Sadness to be able to appreciate her family and her past experiences, and to appreciate Joy more.

I have struggled with the emotion of Sadness in my own life, denying it for years, refusing to give in to it, to the point where I have lost the ability to freely shed tears. It’s not that I want to be ruled by Sadness, or dwell there very often or for very long, but watching the emotions in this animated film brought to my awareness how important ALL of my emotions are, and that they all have value and something to offer to me if I will accept those gifts. I could almost hear my own version of Sadness breathe a long sigh of relief as I “got it”. And I was ruled, dominated, by the emotion of Fear for an unnaturally long time. It has taken a very conscious shift within to loosen Fear’s hold on me. I am grateful that Joy is my primary emotion now, yet I desire to be mindful of what my other emotions are alerting me to.

The girls chatted about the movie afterward, and perhaps not surprisingly, both had sympathy and appreciation for Sadness as well. Aubrey used to play a little game with people, when she was only two years old. She would rest her hand lightly the leg or arm of another, feeling into their emotions, and ask, “Are you happy, mad or sad?” Watching Inside Out today, I recognized that she has had a very healthy relationship with her emotions for her entire life.  It is amazing what I can learn from an animated movie. I appreciate the girls for suggesting this film. We all want to see it again!

girls day movie stand up

The girls hamming it up with a movie cut out.


Journey 150: Girls’ Afternoon


Aubrey Rilynn Moore. London Kate Miller. In reality, these two little girls, ages 6 and 5 respectively, are second cousins. Their fathers are first cousins. In their hearts and minds, these two have been best friends and sisters since they were each old enough to toddle about and talk. 

Aubrey is my granddaughter and London is my sister Linda’s granddaughter. As often as we can, working with everyone’s schedules, we get these little girls together to play. Because of school and parents’ schedules, it’s been a couple of months since the girls have had a play date. We made that happen today, declaring a girls’ afternoon. 


After lunch and time in the playground area at Chick-Fil-A, a favorite hang out for Aubrey and London, we camped out at Linda’s house. The cool rainy weather changed our original plans, keeping us indoors for a time. But that didn’t matter to these cuties. They were happy to see each other, happy to have time to chat and play. When the sprinkles stopped for a while, we went for a walk, the girls pushing baby dolls in strollers. 

Back at the house a sound that excites children everywhere caught their attention. The ice cream truck was coming, its familiar tune announcing its progress through the neighborhood. Of course, the driver was thrilled to stop for these bight eyed girls. 

The girls had a wonderful afternoon together. They played indoors and out, introduced themselves to the new children who have moved into the neighborhood, shared, laughed, acted silly, talked Yaya and Gigi into not one but two walks through the neighborhood. Linda and I are always there, at the edges of their playfulness, listening, watching, loving these sweet girls. 

As I was the observer of their joyful time together, I was struck with a sudden thought. They are growing up. Of course they are, getting taller, learning so much. What I noticed was how their conversations are shifting, their awareness of the world deepening. The little squabbles over who plays with what have disappeared. They were kind and polite, to each other and to their grandmothers, and to those who served them food or stood in line with them in the bathroom.  There was no pouting, no tears, no sassiness. High energy, yes, hilarious conversations and amusing antics, oh yeah. But they are transitioning, from little kids to thoughtful young ladies who certainly know how to have fun while interacting at a high level, socially and intellectually. 

Too soon, London and Aubrey will leave childhood behind and gracefully enter their teens. In their fresh, beautiful faces I caught glimpses of the young ladies who are emerging. I saw a flash of the future today…prom dresses and drivers licenses and first love….and Aubrey and London, poised, confident, joyful, walking arm in arm, chatting as they have always done. And while it brought a sting of tears to my eyes, it brought great joy to my heart. Cousins/sisters/friends….I’m so grateful for these girls and so grateful that they have each other. They share a deep bond, these two. Linda and I are blessed to get to hang out with them. 


Journey 78: Spring Break Fun

spring break

In the Midwest, spring break is often a casualty of too many snow days. When school has been cancelled more than a couple of times, due to ice or snow, the days are made up by eliminating part or all of spring break. This year, thanks to fairly light winter precipitation, kids in the area enjoyed a full week of recess from school. I’ve had the joy this week of spending time with all of my grandkids, at various times, and all my adult children too. Today, my sister Linda and I took four of the youngsters to that favorite hang out for children, Chuck E Cheese.

Chuck E Cheese London plays

My son Nate, with Joey, Oliver and Aubrey in tow, met Linda and London, me, and my sister’s friend Tammy and her daughter Megan at the fun pizza parlor located at the Northpark Mall in Joplin. Because of spring break, and the cool, drizzly weather outside, the place was packed with boisterous children and patient, good-natured parents. We snagged two tables back to back, with the children occupying one and the adults the other. Fresh hot pizzas brought cheers from the kids, while the adults made trips through the salad bar first. (For me, being Whole30 conscious, the salad bar and an unsweetened tea was it for me. I didn’t even crave the pizza.) Greg surprised us by tapping on the window outside. He joined us for a quick lunch as he took a break from work.

As much as the kids enjoyed chowing down on cheese and supreme pizza, they don’t relish going to Chuck E Cheese for the food. They made one extra large pizza disappear very quickly. While a second pizza was being prepared, off they scampered, cups of tokens in hand. For that is the fun reason for being at this eating establishment…plugging tokens into a host of flashing, whirling, blaring gaming machines to win tickets. London and Aubrey, 5 and 6 years old, are more interested in running around, playing in the playground area and riding some of the small rides than they are securing tickets, even though they love the process of redeeming the tickets later for prizes. Megan, being older, struck out on her own, playing an assortment of games. Joey and Oliver, however, at 8 and 7 years old, have this gaming business down. They have a system of playing the same machine rapidly, and usually score big in the way of tickets. While the girls averaged about 200 tickets each today, Joey and Oliver hauled in 1200 tickets, together. I was impressed. They all had fun picking out prizes.

Chuck E Cheese Nate and the boys

Nate spent time visiting with us and then time on the busy floor, watching the girls and playing skee ball with the boys. Even grown kids need some play time. I made sure he had tokens of his own. After a fun afternoon at Chuck E Cheese, Nate headed to a meeting at work and Tammy and Megan said their goodbyes too. Linda and I gave the kids the option of having ice cream and of course they said yes. We stopped at Andy’s for treats for the kids. We quickly discovered that chocolate ice cream and a group of kids…were there really only four of them?…make a fine mess. But that was okay. Napkins and face wiping took care of that….or most of it anyway!

Chuck E Cheese Nate with kids

We ended our play date at Linda’s house, affectionately known as Gigi. One of the things I love about my sister is that she doesn’t get uptight about kids playing in the house. I would have loved to have taken the kids to a park to run and climb and slide, but we will save that experience for another sunnier, warmer day. At Gigi’s house, it is okay to make a mess, to play hide and seek, to ride the scooter in the house. The kids did all those things, plus coloring and watching cartoons and setting up a mock restaurant. They had fun. Gigi and I had fun, watching, interacting, allowing the fine staff at the imaginary restaurant to take our orders for meals, over and over.

When Nate showed up to claim his kids, he joined in the fun for a bit. And then it was time for all of us to hug and say goodbye and go home. Kay Redfield Jamison said, “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” I so agree. One thing we are good at in our family, is allowing kids that freedom. It is good for their souls. They learn to share, to create, to explore. I’m grateful today for spring break, Chuck E Cheese, Andy’s, Gigi’s hospitality, friends, Nate’s willingness to share the kids….and most of all, Megan, Joey, Oliver, Aubrey and London. Their play, their creativity, their laughter, is good for my soul.

Chuck E Cheese playing at Gigis

Coloring at Gigi’s

Chuck E Cheese Joey and Oliver at Gigis

The boys play “store”. While Joey set up, Oliver discovered that three balls lined up make a pretty good recliner. And yes, we all pitched in and cleaned up after play time!

Journey 46: Happy Birthday London Kate

Londons birthday cake

This morning my family gathered to celebrate the birthday of my great niece, London Kate Miller. London, who turns five later in the month, is the oldest grandchild of my sister, Linda. What a happy bunch of us showed up at the Joplin Chuck E Cheese restaurant, which is always a favorite hang out for the kids in my family. Today, the adults joined in as well, making a boisterous group of 28 there to laugh and sing and watch over the kids as they played together. One of the things I love about my family is how my sisters and I get our grandchildren together as often as we can, so that those kids, who are all second cousins, spend as much time together and enjoy each other as much as our children did, growing up. I was thrilled today that most of the family was present, with the exception of my eldest grandson, Dayan, and one of Linda’s granddaughters, Aralyn. Unfortunately, both of Linda’s sons had to work today and couldn’t join us either.

Londons birthday group

London had a princess party at Chuck E Cheese. This specialty pizza place provides a safe environment for kids to run and play and plug tokens into machines, earning tickets. Those tickets are redeemed later for prizes. The boys in the family know how to turn those tokens into a large pile of tickets. However, London and Aubrey have always been more of the opinion that playing and running around is preferred, and if they happen to win a few tickets, that’s good enough for them. The grown up “kids” had just as much fun, adding an element of competition to their playing. The basketball hoops and the skee ball lanes allowed challenges to be thrown out and provided much fun for the rest of us, watching. Young Weston wasn’t quite sure about all the noise, and that giant mouse that occasionally roamed around, but he enjoyed the pizza and played. Baby Lola got passed around for all to admire and coo over. She is adorable and will be joining in on the fun before we know it.

Londons birthday Aubrey and Lola  Londons birthday Weston

At the center of this whirl of activity was the birthday girl. London is a beautiful child, full of bright energy, with big, sparkling blue eyes that can get quite the mischievous glint in them. She is smart, affectionate, playful, and loves to dance, sing and create. And she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask about it or go after it. She enjoys her family and passes out hugs and kisses generously. My granddaughter Aubrey and London have been close since babyhood. These girls think of each other as sisters and best friends. I’m so glad they got to party together today! At Chuck E Cheese the birthday child gets a trip into a wind tunnel, where tickets fly about and can be caught. London invited Aubrey to join her. With their clear goggles on they stood ready. They had fun grabbing at the swirling tickets. This was Aubrey’s second time to be in the tunnel. She learned from past experience to grab and hold the caught tickets close to her chest. She scored a big haul for her cousin!

Londons birthday in the ticket tunnel

Londons birthday opening gifts

What a fun morning. Although I took time to grab a salad, I forgot to eat any pizza. I enjoyed walking around, taking photos, talking to little kids and big kids, and chatting with my mom, sisters, and nieces. I picked out a special gift for London Kate. It is from a line of dolls called Journey Girls. And this particular Journey Girl is blue eyed with light brown hair, just like the birthday girl. She is wearing a frilly purple dress, and her name is London. I hope London Kate enjoys playing with her. I will enjoy watching this bright child as she continues to grow, marveling at her quick wit and her giftedness, her affectionate nature and her soulful eyes. Look out world, this is London Kate! Happy birthday, dear girl.

Londons birthday princess

Day 363: Mousetrap with London


Today was Play Cards Day. I had the intention of participating in this day by playing a couple of card games with my great niece, London Kate. This beautiful 4 year old girl is my sister’s first grandchild. Linda is keeping her granddaughter for a few days so I paid a visit, along with my mom, to see London and play cards.

London greeted me at the door. She and Gigi, London’s name for her grandmother, had been busy playing, as evidenced by the cheerful disarray in Linda’s house! London was happy to have visitors. She would have been ecstatic if my granddaughter Aubrey could have accompanied me. Unfortunately for London, Aubrey is in Texas until Friday. These two little girls treat each other more like sisters than second cousins. They adore each other and are very excited when they get to play together. We hope to make that happen over the weekend.

London agreed to play a game. However, she opted for the board game, Mousetrap. She had received this new version of the game for Christmas. So Play Cards Day immediately transformed into Play Mousetrap Day!

I played the old…old…old version of this game as a child. This brightly colored updated version was much easier to play and very fun. While Gigi ran to pick up dinner, my mom and I joined London in a couple of rounds of Mousetrap. It’s fun to “kick” the plastic bucket and start the silver ball rolling. The ball sets off new segments within the game, making a giraffe fall and a hippo jump, until eventually a cage drops, trapping the unfortunate mouse beneath it. More often than not, it was Grandma or Yaya who ended up under that trap. After a while, we made up our own rules and just took turns setting off the trap!

I had fun with London and appreciated her willingness to create a first with me. I don’t believe that London and I have ever played a board game together before. It won’t be the last time, I’m sure! And this weekend, I look forward to getting several of the grandchildren in the family together. These versatile, adaptable, loving, go with the flow kids know how to have fun and be in the moment. I learn so much just by being in their presence.